Thursday, September 27, 2007

Calling All "Comments"!

I am so exciting to receive my very first comment on this blog!!!! And from no less than Frecklegirl Jess of Ravelry. WoooHooo! (This is where you imagine me jumping for joy!) I am so happy! I was beginning to feel very lonely that no one chose to comment on anything on this blog. I received some nice email comments but none on the blog.

I do realize some do not feel comfortable posting comments for all to see. That’s OK too. Nevertheless, I am still learning about how to do this “Blog stuff” and work this website, and realized that I had it set to accept only those who registered with “Blogspot”. I had inadvertently excluded my larger audience, those who were not registered (aka anonymous) people. Well, now I have changed my settings to allow Anonymous (anyone) to comment.

Sooooo…..Come one and all! Feel free to comment. Just press the “comment” link at the bottom of this entry and leave me your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

P.S. Thank you Jess of Ravelry for your nice comment! Hang in there! We very much appreciate your hard work. You will be famous….you ARE famous in the knitting world!.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Orange you glad to know?

I just couldn't wait to start my October project sweater. Once I make my mind up to do something, it so hard not to. I started my Wishbone sweater from the December project of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac.

I don’t believe EZ intended this sweater to have a ribbing, but I put one on anyways, because finishing is just not something I like to do. I think she intended for a facing to be added and then sewn up, but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to this. I can handle the sleeves and the neck line, but 48 in of sewing a facing was just not very motivating.

I just love the color. I don’t think my camera has caught the true color. The Lion Brand Jiffy color is rust but it looks more like a pumpkin orange. The Acrylic in the photo makes it sort of shine. It’s somewhat fuzzy, like mohair, which makes it soft. In the photo it looks more redish than it really is. It is knitting up quite fast as expected. The above is two days worth of knitting on Size 11 needles.

I’m afraid my sweatpants is in danger of becoming a UFO (aka unfinished object). I am going to have to do a lot of ripping back to correct it. (Sigh!) Well…I hope that when I get tired of knitting the rust, I will be motivated to knit the cream. (So uninspiring, huh?) I am so glad to get back to colored yarn again. I plan to dye the cream sweatpants. What color did my son request? Dreadful Black; another reason to be uninspired. I hope to get back to it before Christmas.

I am so excited that I am getting closer to getting an invite on Ravelry, the knitting community (what do you call it?) website database? I’m now at 654 people in front of me and believe it or not 17,423 people behind waiting.

I heard an interview on the Stash and Burn podcast with the creators of Ravelry, Jess and Casey. Wow, do they sound tired but very gratified to have created something that has taken off so well. Thank you Jess and Casey! I’ve heard so many great things about it. It may prove to be an excellent model for a new kind of supportive community that brings out the best talents, resources and gifts of people. Knitters rule! We have a potential to change the world in so many positive ways!.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall Fiber Storm

This had been a very productive knitting week. I finished the baby leggings. I think the body part may be too long and may come up to my granddaughter’s chin when put on. I haven’t yet had a chance for her to try them on.

I wish I had knit these baby leggings before the adult ones. I realize now that I did it wrong and may have to rip back to the joining and redo the body part. I misread the double decreases and thought I was to decrease at the sides to fit the waist. This created an oddly shaped pant part with a bulge at the hips and very tightly fitting around the crouch. (See picture below) .I think my son is either being very polite and agreeable or very impatient and wants to get the fitting over with. I really want these to fit, so he will actually use them. So…..I regretfully think I must undo and correct them to better fit. Which means they will take longer to finish than I thought.

I have been rethinking my October project which is a open collar shirt short sleeve sweater (aka polo or golf shirt). I am thinking I chose a yarn that might be too warm for wear in California. This is a short sleeve shirt and would be foolish to wear wool when the arms are not covered as well. I’m thinking that perhaps a cotton blend would be better. I have never made an adult sweater before and the December Wishbone sweater looks a lot easier to make for a first sweater.

The Wishbone sweater is made with bulky yarn with a gauge of 2.5 sts per inch and should go quickly since there will less stitches to knit. As I scanned the Sunday paper today, I saw an Michael’s crafts ad for Lion Brand Jiffy yarn at $2.50 a skein. I went right over there and purchased 11 skeins for a sweater, a lovely Burnt Orange color, just right for October Fall season. This yarn is 100% Acrylic. OOOH NO, NOT ACRYLIC!!!, you might be saying, but this yarn has a soft fuzzyness, like mohair and IS WASHABLE.

I knitted up some “Jiffy” swatches (pun intended) using 9, 10, 10 ½, and 11 needles. (swatch)
Needles (cm) ,Size, Measured, Gauge (sts/inch) ,Gauge (rows per in)
5.5, 9 ,9sts in 2 in, 4sts ,6 rws
7.0, 10, 7 sts in 2 in, 3.5, 5 rws
6.5, 10 ½, 6.5 sts in 2 in ,3.25 ,5
8. 11, 6 in 2 in, 3, 3.5
Yarn doubled
6.5, 10 ½, 5.5 in 2 in, 2.75, 4rws
8, 11, 5 in 2 in, 2.5 ,3 rws.

The swatch with the single strand knitted up too loose and open (on right) The only acceptable fabric was with the Size 9 needles, whose gauge was too small for the pattern. Elizabeth Zimmerman suggested a gauge of 2.5 sts/in. She points out that it doesn’t work with other gauges. I doubled the yarn (left) and the Size 11 (botton left)came out perfectly with a gauge of 2.5 and a firm, flexible fabric, thick, pliable and not stiff. So it looks like I will start the Wishbone sweater soon while also working on a redo of the adult sweatpants.

While after finishing with the baby leggings and at a standstill with the sweatpants, I was driven to finish my Forest Canopy Shoulder shawl. I blocked it and the results are below. It is made of handspun merino wool that was hand dyed. I started with it as roving and spun it myself. I just the love the softness of it. It will come in handy on the cooler mornings that are beginning to show themselves at the beginning of fall, which was yesterday. Fall really came in like gangbusters this year, with the first downpour of a storm on the day of our Town’s Route 66 parade.

Another project I picked up again was the baby surprise sweater. I am trying to add a hood. I worked on the math for the increases today. Stayed tuned to the finished product........

Monday, September 17, 2007

Simple Gifts

I woke up this morning and thought that something was strangely different. It was actually overcast and gloomy outside with temperatures in the cool 60’s. For Southern California, this is very unusual. Over the weekend it hit in the 90’s. Leaves are falling in my backyard from my neighbors trees. I actually had to dig in my closet for a sweater to wear to work. This is signs of something……

I arrived at work and teachers were reporting that their kids are coming in sick, with runny noses and coughs. This always happens when the weather changes and is a sure indication that Summer is over and “Fall” is here. I am seeing pumpkins everywhere and flowers in craft stores in hues of yellow, orange and brown. Halloween decorations proliferate all the department stores with a sprinkling of Christmas decorations starting to show up.

This season excites me because I know that the Holidays are just around the corner. I am feeling that my purpose in knitting is even more strengthened as I consider who will get the handmade gifts this year. Will I have time to make it? How can I make the Holidays special this year? Knitting with warm wool is lovely again, especially soft wool.

I sit on my comfy rocking chair in front of the fireplace, knitting on my latest projects, listening to my knitting podcasts and without knowing I am dozing off. Why does the fall changes make me so sleepy? Did God put “Fall” into the world to prepare us for a period of world slumber, a time for plants to slumber from their growth, giving farmers a break after the harvest, and wives a time to prepare warm garments for the cold?

Isn’t He so ingenious? He gave people gifts of creativity, love and a desire to make something out the raw materials of His creation. How amazing is the wonder of a different kind of harvest, and satisfaction in the hearts of those that create, whose expressions of beauty in their creations make this world amazing to behold. See how God expresses His love of beauty in the gifts he gives us and our expressions of our arts! Aha! I have discovered my gift!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finished Baby surprise Jacket...or is it?

I hate finishing my projects. I love to knit, but I struggle with sewing up seams and buttons. Today, I finally took a break from my knitting and made the commitment to finish this jacket. I'm thinking it would look really cute with a hood. Only I don't think I have a pattern to do this.....yet.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

....And I Get to Knit!!!

Finishing my son’s sweatpants is only a matter of final fitting for the waistband. Pinning him down for this has proved to be a challenge since he started his evening college classes. One way or another this will get done.

Sooo…..while I’m waiting, I have busied myself by starting some baby leggings for my granddaughter using Knit Picks Superwash Swish. I love the softness of this wool. Knitting this is a little different because it is knit from waist to ankle, unlike the sweatpants which was ankle to waist.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive my order of Swish from Knit Picks for my October Project, the open collar shirt. The color is fired brick and will look great on my middle son. I can’t wait to get started. I also purchased a color card and realize that this yarn is going to be building my stash for a long time. I love the fact that it is so soft and WASHABLE! What a find! Thank you Kelly Petkun, of Knit Picks!

My husband and I are planning on a road trip for the TKGA (The Knitting Guild of America) West Conference at the end of September. Since our last away trip was so enjoyable, he has been asking “What is the next fiber event around this area?” Although Oakland is about a 7-8 hour trip, he prefers to drive, than suffer through the stress of going through airport security and an uncomfortable tiny plane seat. I am so excited because we can take our time and I can knit all the way there and back! Yea!!!!! My new October project in mainly stockinette stitch is the perfect travel project. We love to listen to audiobooks on the way and I get to knit! My husband doesn’t knit, but he is just perfectly happy spending some quiet time watching TV, listening to his Ipod and reading. So I will be going to the convention during the day and then spending time with my husband in the evening for the weekend, and I get to knit! I can’t think of a more relaxing thing to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Trials and Errors

Why does a week of trials and error drive me so unrelentlessly to knit. It must be the peaceful solitude of making something out of practically nothing that gives one a sense of happy accomplishment replacing the feeling of failure. This week at work has been a non-stop cycle of spinning my wheels, trying to do everything and accomplishing nothing.

Even in my knitting pursuits can be trial and error. I had my hopes high in starting a new project with laceweight yarn: The Rose Trellis Shawl. Even as I started to cast on I ran into some snags, literally. I couldn’t seem to pick up and knit this thin yarn in a single ply. I kept snagging and dropping stitches. I finally resorted to doubling the yarn, which was more manageable but the pattern proved more complicated than I thought. Once I made a mistake, it was impossible to undo and fix the errors without dropping more stitches. I ended up dropping so many stitches and eventually gave up. I’ll have to save making this lovely shawl when I have a bit more experience with lace and laceweight yarn.

So now what do I do with this beautiful yarn? Solution…..I’ve been drooling over the lovely patterns in Lavish Lace. I was intrigued by an easier Candlelight pattern for a scarf that originally called for a DK superwash yarn. I was hoping that my doubled laceweight Alpaca/Silk on smaller Size 4 needles would do just fine.

My youngest son’s sweat pants are really coming along now. I am almost to the waist band. Just one more fitting, to position the drawstring holes, and we’re in business.
Now that I’ve made one pair of sweats, I am motivated to try to do some leggings for my granddaughter, this time following Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby leggings pattern in the Knitter’s Almanac. The cone “sportweight” cotton I won from ebay turned out to be stiff Size 10 crochet cotton. It will not be soft enough for leggings and it is way too thin to knit with. I really do not want the same troubles I went through with laceweight wool. So I am going to try the soft worsted Superwash wool I made a swatch out of last week. If I am successful, they will be warm and comfy for some nighttime leggings.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

New Yarns: Laceweight

Since it is looking like I will be finishing the sweatpants soon, I am itching to start something with the lace weight yarn I purchased from Knitpicks. I bought two skeins of Shimmer in the Maple Leaf colorway, a lace weight Alpaca/Silk blend. I wanted to find a yarn that would be appropriate for fall. Initially, I wanted one that had green, but then I saw this gorgeous, orange,red and yellow and brown colorway that reminded me of leaves when they change color in the fall. I then found this beautidul shawl pattern: The Rose Trellis Shawl.

I had not knitted with laceweight yarn before. I attempted to cast on with Size 2 Options circular needles, which are sharper and better for laceweight. I knit the first row, but I kept on missing stitches. After frogging several times and starting over, I finally gave up and doubled the yarn to a more manageable fingering weight. Yes, the colors were not as clearly defined. It looks more like a rust with spots of yellow. I will also need to order more Shimmer to finish it.

I have coming a sport weight scarlet 2-ply cotton I won from Ebay. I want to try some baby leggings for my 1-year old grandaughter. They should be perfect for Christmas time in California. I perceive they will go alot faster than the adult sweatpants.

Sweatpants and planning for October

After a very busy week at work, like most 1st weeks of school are, I've been trying to work on the cream colored sweat pants I'm knitting my youngest son using an adaptation from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Nether Garments. I will most likely dye them to a darker color as my son requested after I finish them. I've been able to join the two legs and knit the crotch. I am increasing stitches in the front center and center back to the hip size and now I am starting on the decreases on the sides for the waist size. I have been debating whether to insert some elastic in the waist or make an I-cord drawstring to allow him room to grow. Stay tuned for the result.....

October's project in EZ's Knitters Almanac is an Open Collar Pullover. My adult middle son, who is a teacher, seems interested in the style. Knowing how my son does laundry, I wanted to choose a yarn that was easy to care for and practically indistructable. I obtained some worsted Bare Superwash wool from Knit Picks and knitted up a swatch in Size 6, 7 , 8, and 9s to see which gauge would be better. This is a yarn that I believe is Swish in colors.

First of all, I was amazed at how soft this yarn was and how easy it knitted up. I just couldn't believe it wouldn't shrink and felt in the washer. To test it, I put my swatch in the washing machine with jeans and dried it in the dryer at normal temperature. To my amazement there was no felting. The stitch definition was intact and it shrunk less than 1/4 in. After washing, it was even softer than before. I'm in love with this yarn. My mind started to go crazy with thoughts of future knitting projects to come with this yarn. Below are pictures of before washing (left picture)and drying and then after (right picture). Sorry about the formatting. I haven't figured out how to line them up.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My Favorite Knitting Podcasts

I've discovered the joy of listening to knitting podcast on my Ipod nano. A podcast is like a mini radioshow produced by non-professionals about anything they want to talk about. There are so many knitting and crafting podcasts available, for free download or for listening to on your computer, to keep anyone busy and entertained for a long time. Below are some of my favorites.


A podcast for crafters who love books. Heather Ordover, an English teacher, shares her commentary on her knitting, spinning, crocheting and other crafting projects. She is an easy to listen to mom, who has moved from New York to Tuscon, Arizona. What makes this podcast special is that she plays audiobook classics from Librivox, a wealth of public domain books, during the last half of her one hour podcast. Her first selection was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, one of my all time favorite classics. Her teacherly commentary is very enlightening. It’s like being in a class where the teacher helps the reader/listener be aware of details and insights of the enfolding story. These readings are great to listen to while knitting.

Sticks and String

David Reidy from Australia, a very amiable bloke who knits, a high school teacher, has a degree in astrophysics and despite all of this seems “very down to earth”. Excellent idealistic essays that make one proud to be a knitter, male or female, and encourages one to give to others and teach knitting, a constant characteristic of the knitting community at large. There is lovely music to knit to, very surreal and peaceful. Weekly podcast. I always look forward this.

Cast On

Brenda Dayne, from Wales, the “queen bee” of knitting podcasting. Everyone seeks her advice and assistance in starting podcasting. Brenda has a sultry easy to listen to voice, opinionated and entertainingly irritable at times, which makes her a REAL person one can relate to. There are wonderful essays and excellent writing about her knitting philosophy and life. Usually one hour in duration with interruptions of great music selections, some off the wall, but entertaining.

Knitpicks Podcast

Kelly Petkin, from Knitpicks yarns in Washington. Very slow and deliberate account of her inspirations and progress of knitting, yarn producing and pattern developing. Makes one feel like she is your best friend, very encouraging and positive. Leads a monthly knit-along through Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitters Almanac on Yahoo called Elizabeth’s Year.


Caroline Morse in New Hampshire. A mother who spins, knits, crochet, weaves, and raises animals including dogs and alpacas for her fiber work. Has lots of good advice and talks about equipment and techniques related to fiberarts to share, as well as life with her three children. Caroline hasn’t posted a new podcast since April but the few she has are very entertaining and informative.

Stash and Burn

Jennie and Nicole from San Francisco banter with each other about their quest to reduce their “out of control” stash of yarn. They seem to know a lot about the different yarns, fashion trends and new patterns that are around. They talk about the process of their knitting projects. At times, they can be very funny. Jennie has a wonderful laugh that can be infectious.